My fellow cheap bastard and blogger, Dysfunctional Literacy, posed a few questions in his most recent post with the clear intent of generating a dialogue among his readers in the comment section. However, his tactic backfired because my thoughts were too much for a comment and warranted a post of my own. Then again, he may have just succeeded beyond his expectations since he now has a link to his blog from mine. Well played, sir.
Should you have bought your daughter the James Patterson book? I understand your mixed feelings. James Patterson does seem to lend his name quite freely to works in which he has questionable levels of involvement. Perhaps “lend” and “free” have the wrong connotation in this situation.
Sell when people are buying
My counterpoint would be that Mr Patterson has earned his level of success and name recognition. I doubt a literary-minded witch gave him the proverbial “famous while alive vs when dead” dilemma. Whatever your personal opinion on his writing, people have voted with their dollars. I am envious that Mr. Patterson has the ability to simply slap his name on something and have it sell like fried Snickers bars at a National Fat Acceptance convention. However, despite my envy, I do not begrudge him the ability. I would do exactly the same, given the chance.
Most of what I see written about James Patterson and his ubiquity does everything short of calling him a sell-out. Perhaps these writers are afraid of alienating the Great and Powerful OZ. Maybe they fear the backlash of an angry mob of James Patterson fans coming after them. I would love to be a sell-out. That would mean I have something lots of people want to buy.
And if by chance Mr Patterson should read this post, let me say, “You are a magnificent talent, sir. And extraordinarily handsome, as well. I would gladly give you top billing on a book I wrote….Call me!”
Is Amazon the Devil?
Probably not. Perhaps a minor demon, but not the big Beelzebub himself. It depends on your perspective. Traditional publishing methods are what caused me to give up writing entirely for a decade because I was not seeing a return on my efforts. Then again, maybe I wasn’t published very often because I sucked. If that is the case, I might still suck. In my defense, I haven’t been told that lately. I might simply be mediocre.
Much like Walmart, Amazon has never done anything, but made my life better. Raise my quality of life by offering me less expensive stuff? How dare they. However, in the current dispute with Hachette Publishing (Which most writers have no stake in), I did find the letter they sent to KDP members quite the whiny punk move.
Time to parent
The thought of applying strict time management to your daughter’s book browsing is brilliant. We do it for most everything else. We limit the time they have to get ready for school, prepare for bed, and stand over them while they perform any number of activities, while looking at our watches and hoping traffic doesn’t delay the rush to the next enrichment activity that enhances our child’s college application. Parents have made over-scheduling their kids into dozens of activities an art form, so why not apply the same principle in the bookstore?
The funny thing about time and getting things done is that every project will expand to fill the time allotted. I am consistently amazed at my own ability to churn out work of any sort when under a deadline. And since I don’t think I’m particularly talented or special, I suspect everyone has that ability in them.
So, tell your daughter to hurry the hell up.